Properties of Information: Information has an origin. It is communicated from the origin or from a “source” where information is termed as “message”. The message needs a “medium” for communication. The message is aimed to be communicated to a “recipient”. At each step the information possesses certain characteristics. Some of the characteristics or properties of information are listed below
a) General Characteristics
i) Information is Heterogeneous: Information is extremely heterogeneous with virtually infinite variation in response to individual conjunctions of supplier, processor, user and channel of communication. It is inter-disciplinary in nature.
ii) Information Itself is Valueless: Information is rarely of value in itself. It always requires a content structure or model within which it can be interpreted.
iii) Information is Central: The role of information in any organization is central and can be viewed as a fundamental factor of production like money and manpower.
iv) Protection: The supplier and the user of information often need special protection by means of government intervention such as copyright and patent laws, privacy legislation, fraud statutes, etc.
v) Demand Varies: Demand for information is a function of such variables as age, perishability, convenience, reliability, source, etc.
vi) Un-destroyable: Information is not consumed in its use.
vii) Shareable: It can be shared by many and can be used simultaneously without any loss to anyone.
viii) Democratic Resource: Information is the best democratic resource that can be consumed by the poor and the rich alike depending upon their intake capacity.
b) Characteristics at the Source of Origin
i) Reliable and Genuine Source: When information is received from a valid, reliable and genuine source then only it should be considered for communication to the recipient or end user.
ii) Communicability: Information should be in a communicable form.
c) Characteristics as a Message
i) Accuracy: Information should be precise and free from error.
ii) Timeliness: The information should be timely. To achieve this modern electronic device can be used.
iii) Completeness: Information as a message should include all the relevant information.
iv) Explicitness: The message should not leave any doubt in the mind of the user as to its validity, comprehensiveness, etc.
v) Availability and Accessibility: Information must be available and readily accessible to the user.
vi) Verifiability: The message must be verifiable so that its validity, accuracy, appropriateness, etc can be assessed.
vii) Bias free: Information should be free from any kind of bias.
d) Characteristics at the end of the Recipient
i) Adaptability: Information should be adaptable for a new use, need, situation, etc.
ii) Cost Effectiveness: Information should improve the performance of a system at an acceptable cost or at no cost or should reduce the cost without unduly effecting performance.
iii) Currency: The information should be timely available. It should not be obsolete as well. Timely information will be of high value.
iv) Relevance: Information should be relevant to the user.
v) Conciseness: Information should summarize the relevant data so that it will be useful for the managers.